With a million or so views, I’m sure you’ve all seen the men’s college runner who started his victory celebration a little too early and ended up not winning at all (video link below). These sorts of stories always make the sports news and there is no upside to these early celebrations other than giving funny—yet sad—content to all us sports fans.
This same idea applies to tournament days in pickleball. Don’t celebrate your win too early. Don’t celebrate before the referee announces “Match” and the game is over. I have been on the other side of the court numerous times when an opponent has done that exact same thing by starting a mini-celebration, and poof, they lose. Many of my memories of this come from mixed doubles competition. In one case, during a time out my partner and I witnessed opponents hugging and giggling with each other– a mini show for the victory they thought was to come. My partner (Chris) and I kept our focus and played each point with all we had. In the end, victory was ours and there was no hugging or giggling any more. The opponents had a look of shock and walked off the court wondering what just happened. This game of pickleball can go so fast, either way, and the momentum swings can be big. In women’s doubles during the Grand Canyon Games a few years back my partner (Alex) and I were down 0-9. We took a time out and overheard our opponents talking with the spectators about their soon to be victory. We buckled down, refocused and took our game up a couple notches winning 11-9. Like the runner, they started their celebration a little too early, something you should never do in any sport. These are a couple of my examples, but I’m sure you’ve all lived them.
Here are three video clips/links of athletes celebrating a bit too early…
Men’s running race:
Snowboarder in the Olympics:
Don’t celebrate too early (sports fail compilation) – Variety of sports clips to music